SERGEANT Brett Stevenson saw too much death and trauma during a decade with the police forensic crash unit. But one day still stands out, even five years later.
A ute was still burning with 20-year-old Kiere Rose inside it when Sgt Stevenson and his colleague arrived at the crash scene on the Old Warrego Hwy near Dalby.
"The hardest part was feeling helpless," Sgt Stevenson recalled.
"Some truck drivers and motorists who were there before us were trying to put the fire out.
"As soon as they thought they had a handle on the fire, it would light up again.
"It's certainly one of the worst crashes I've ever been to."
It wasn't only the scene - "that's always violent and disturbing" - but the age of the victim.
"I can't imagine what it must be like to lose one of your kids," Sgt Stevenson said.
At first it was hard to fathom why Ms Rose's vehicle had crossed to the wrong side of the long, straight road in front of an oncoming truck.
The answer was in her mobile phone found near the charred wreckage.
"It was thrown a small distance. It was undamaged, just lying there," Sgt Stevenson said.
"For that to come out meant to us it had to have been in a position ... if it had been in a bag or shut away, it would have been destroyed in the fire.
"We were able to look at it and see there were messages leading up to the crash."
Twenty-five text messages were sent or received in the 20 minutes since Ms Rose had left home at Kogan.
"The cause was a lot surer in this case," Sgt Stevenson said.
"There are a lot of cases where we think it (mobile phone use) was a factor but you cannot prove it."
Sgt Stevenson said the need to focus on responding to the scene, keeping other drivers and pedestrians safe and gathering evidence that will be needed takes over in the immediate aftermath of a serious road smash.
"It starts to hit home when you get witness statements and talk to members of the family," hesaid.
"The officers that do this work see time and time again the devastation that the families go through, whether it's a wife, husband, a child, a mate. To be without them forever."
It's not easy for Sgt Stevenson to talk about that day.
"It's affected me a fair bit - and probably continues to a little bit - but it's important enough that I'm willing to keep telling it to get that message across," hesaid.
"It's a story that has to be told."
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